Small Changes You Can Make To Improve Your Heart Health

Small Changes You Can Make To Improve Your Heart Health

The team at Pomona Valley Heath Centers wants to help you improve your heart health with a few simple lifestyle changes. These changes are small, they won’t take much time, and you don’t have to do them all at once.

To enjoy a long, heart-healthy life, start by making a few small changes now to help strengthen your heart for a lifetime.

Easy ways to a healthier heart

Try making one small change a week to improve your heart health.

Heart healthy diet

The best thing you can do for your heart each day is to eat a heart-healthy diet filled with a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Limiting saturated fats, trans fats and sodium is very important for heart health because they can lead to high blood pressure and coronary artery disease. If hydrogenated margarine, butter, lard and nondairy creamers are a regular part of your diet, try substituting with olive oil, coconut oil or avocados.

Cardiovascular exercise

One brisk, 10-minute walk a day can get your blood pumping and help strengthen your heart. Once you’re ready, you can alternate walking with jogging, climbing stairs, or biking to keep your routine interesting.

Weight training

Don’t be intimidated by the thought of lifting weights. You can easily weight train at home with a few soup cans. Try lifting soup cans above your head, out to your sides, and in front of you for three sets of ten. When this gets too easy, you can increase the number of repetitions and add in lower body exercises as well. This not only tones and strengthens your arms; it helps improve circulation.

Frequent hand washing

This one is almost too easy. Washing your hands can help prevent infections like flu and pneumonia, which can be very hard on your heart. So wash often with clean, running water and soap for at least 20 seconds. Take care to wash your wrists, in between your fingers and under your fingernails, as well as the backs of your hands where germs can hide.

Sleep

Regularly sleeping six to eight hours a night has shown to help lower heart rate and blood pressure. Be sure to get plenty of rest to help prevent cardiovascular problems later in life.

Taking good care of your heart is easy. Make a few easy lifestyle changes now, and you will reap the rewards of a healthy heart for years to come. Incorporate one of these simple changes into your daily routine each week for a healthier heart.

Schedule an appointment today with the experienced physicians at Pomona Valley Health Centers at (909) 536-1493.

American Heart Month: Heart-Healthy Foods and Exercise

American Heart Month

 

February is American Heart Month, so this is the perfect opportunity to reevaluate what you’ve been doing for your heart lately. Are you staying active? Are you consuming well-balanced, healthy meals? Though nobody is perfect, it’s important to pay attention to your diet and your exercise routine. Below are a few tips on exercise and heart-healthy foods that you can start using today.

Heart-healthy foods

Salmon

Salmon contains plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, which can lower the risk of arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) and atherosclerosis (hardening and plaque buildup in the arteries), and can decrease triglycerides (high triglyceride levels can increase risk of heart disease). The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends eating fatty fish at least twice a week to reap these benefits.

Oatmeal

Oatmeal has high levels of soluble fiber, which can help to lower cholesterol by acting as a sponge in the digestive tract that soaks up the cholesterol, preventing it from being absorbed into the bloodstream. Try old-fashioned or quick-cooking oats, as they don’t contain the added sugars found in most instant oatmeal.

Berries

Consuming berries, such as blueberries and strawberries, at least three times a week can help lower your risk for heart attack, a recent study has revealed. In addition, flavonoids found in these berries can decrease blood pressure and dilate blood vessels for better circulation.

Heart-healthy exercise

As with any other muscle, your heart becomes stronger and healthier with regular exercise. If you haven’t been exercising, it’s never too late to start. People who don’t participate in physical activity are almost twice as likely to develop heart disease as those who are active. Regular exercise can help you:

  • Burn calories
  • Lower your blood pressure
  • Reduce your LDL (“bad” cholesterol)
  • Boost your HDL (“good” cholesterol)
  • Improve your mood and lower your stress level

You don’t have be a marathon runner to exercise. The most important part is simply to get your body moving and burning calories. To improve overall cardiovascular health, the AHA recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week. Thirty minutes per day for five days each week is an easy goal to achieve. Aerobic exercises that will benefit your heart include:

  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Swimming
  • Biking

The simplest and most positive change you can make is to start walking. It’s enjoyable, free, easy, social and great for your heart.
To schedule an appointment with the physicians at Pomona Valley Health Centers, call (888) 686-0773 today.